It was my first night shift at work after a glorious 9 months of mornings spent in pyjamas, days of peekaboo and 'this little piggy' and evenings spent snuggling on the sofa with my baby son. It was the end of my brief experience of being a stay at home mum and the beginning of a new chapter in my life - working mumma!
To say this is what I wanted would be a complete lie. I have spent the last nine months desperately trying to discover a way of being able to commit to the good life at home, but alas, what you need to do is not always what you want to do! So I opted for the next best option, still offering the opportunity to watch my son grow and learn, yet still bringing in the much needed pennies - night shifts.
On my first night shift I highly underestimated the effects of being awake all night. Having opted for no sleep during the day I found myself fighting tears at 2am as I faced the remaining five hours of my sleepless night. The thought of having to return for a further shift the following night made me question my whole decision.
Why had I chosen to drag myself out in the evenings at an hour when I would ordinarily be ready for bed and force myself to stay awake all night, then drive my half hour journey home where I would then fill my mummy shoes for the remainder of the day?
But when my shift was over, and I had made it safely to Nanny's house, and my tiny boy was waving a packet of baby wipes at me in-between tears that began as it dawned on him that he hadn't seen his mummy since he woke up, and when his tears turned to smiles as I lifted him into my arms, snuggling into his fire engine pyjamas, it all came together - the reason why I will continue to suffer the night shift as my body screams for sleep, the reason why I will drag myself into the dark at 9.30pm when everyone else is settling in for the night, the reason why I will load up on coffee and vitamins to maintain my sanity.
I get to spend every day with this blue-eyed boy who smiles at me because I am his mummy, who beams with joy when he masters the art of waving, or blowing kisses or beat boxing (thanks to daddy!)
It's easy to lose perspective when you just feel sorry for yourself, when you want to cry through the exhaustion. But I am learning to remember what is important in life. I am learning to remind myself that I am lucky to spend my days with the little blue-eyed boy who doesn't care if mummy has bags under her eyes, or if mummy has to have a nap when he does. And holding on to this, makes the night shift so much easier - (well, that and copious amounts of caffeine!)